Mexican Teachers Protest Ed Reform
Boy, if you think education and teachers unions are bad in the US, check out Mexico!
Mexico’s highly anticipated education overhaul program — intended to weed out poorly performing teachers, establish professional hiring standards and weaken the powerful teachers’ union — is buckling under the tried-and-true tactic of huge street protests, throwing the heart of the capital into chaos.
A radical teachers’ group mobilized thousands of members in Mexico City last week, chasing lawmakers from their chambers, occupying the city’s historic central square, blocking access to hotels and the international airport, and threatening to bring an already congested city to a halt in the coming days.
These mobilizations, analysts said, suggest how difficult it may be for President Enrique Peña Nieto to get through this and other changes he has pushed since taking office in December, including an energy and telecommunications overhaul deemed vital to revving up the economy.
Already, lawmakers, who passed the principal outlines of the education program in December and are negotiating additional legislation needed to carry it out, have shelved one of the bill’s most vital provisions, an evaluation requirement aimed at halting the common practice of buying and selling teaching jobs and establishing mechanisms to fire poorly performing instructors.
“What has happened is very grave,” said Sergio Aguayo, a political analyst at the Colegio de México. “A kidnapped city and a dismantled reform.”
Mr. Peña Nieto had focused on the public education system because he and analysts have called it vital to moving more people into the middle class.